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BO O K IV.
The ARGUMENT. Satan, now in prospect of Eden, and nigh
the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprize which he undertook alone againf God, and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despair: but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise
, whose outward prospect and situation is described, overleaps the bounds, fits in the shape of a cormorant on the Tree of Life, as the highest in the garden, to look about him. The garden defcribed; Satan's first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at their excellent form and happy fate, but with resolution to work their fall; overhears their dif
course; thence gathers that the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them awhile to know further of their state by some other means. Mean-while Uriel descending on a sun-beam warns Gabriel (who had in charge the gate of Paradise) that some evil spirit had escaped the Deep, and past at noon by his sphere in the shape of a good Angel down to Paradise, discovered afterwards by his furious gestures in the mount: Gabriel promises to find him out e'er morning. Night comes on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: their bower described; their evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his bands of night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two Arong Angels to Adam's bower, left the evil spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping ; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, tho unwilling, to Gabriel ; by whom question’d, he scorn
fully answers, prepares resistance, but, hinderd by a sign from heav'n, flies out of Paradise.
O he sawa
Th’ Apocalyps heard cry in heav'n aloud,
Which now sat higla in his meridian tow'r: 30 Then much revolving, thus in fighs began.
O thou! that, with surpassing glory crown'd, Look'st from thy fole dominion like the God Of this new world; at whose fight all the stars Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call, 33 But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, O Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams, That bring to my remembrance from what ftate I fell : how glorious once above thy sphere ! 'Till pride, and worse ambition, threw me down, 40 Warring in heav'n against heav'n's matchless King. Ah wherefore! He deserv'd no such return From me, whom He created what I was, In that bright eminence; and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
45 What could be less ! than to afford him praise, (The easiest recompense,) and pay him thanks : How due ! yet all his good prov'd ill in me, And wrought but malice : lifted up so high I 'Idein'd subjection, and thought one step higher 50 Would set me highest; and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude; So burthensome, still paying, still to owe; Forgetful what from Him I still receiv'd : And understood not that a grateful mind 55 By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted, and discharg'd: what burden then? O had His pow'rful destiny ordain'd Me some inferior Angel! I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd 60